Janesville40.9°

Arrest made in Orfordville beating

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Ted Sullivan
July 24, 2009
— A Janesville man was arrested Thursday on felony charges of first-degree sexual assault and aggravated battery in the May beating of an Orfordville woman found unconscious in her home.

Dustin L. Sperb, 21, of 440 N. Parker Drive, Janesville, was arrested after DNA evidence at the state crime lab linked him to the crime, Rock County Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Christiansen said.


Sandra L. Cole, 47, of 3119 S. Old Highway 11, No. 35, Orfordville, was found beaten unconscious May 10 in her home in Country Courts Trailer Home Park.


She is no longer on life support and is recovering slowly in a Milwaukee area hospital, Christiansen said.


A deputy was conducting a burglary investigation that afternoon at a neighbor's home when Cole's family member reported her “down,” sheriff's officials said.


It appeared Cole had been lying injured since the previous night, the same night the neighbor's home was burglarized, sheriff's officials said.


Detectives concluded the burglary and the attack were not related, sheriff’s officials said.


Sperb was at a different home in the trailer park on the night of the attack, Christiansen said, and he was reportedly intoxicated.


Sperb knew Cole through her kids and other residents in the trailer park, he said.


No evidence of forced entry or stolen items was found in Cole’s home, Christiansen said.


Investigators initially said they had no suspect in the attack, but they have been waiting for evidence from the crime lab to make an arrest.


Cole remained in a coma in Mercy Hospital in Janesville for weeks, officials said, and she was moved to Milwaukee for specialized treatment.


Cole is a single mother with five children. She also has three dogs, two birds, one cat and several fish.


She worked at Swiss Colony in Monroe.


Neighbors described Cole as a friendly woman who helped downtrodden kids.


She housed troubled teens, neighbors said, and she scolded kids if they caused trouble.


Cole often gave people sugar, water or coffee if they were in need, neighbors said.


She liked gardening, playing on her computer and socializing, they said.


Sperb was being held in the Rock County Jail and was expected to appear in Rock County Court on Friday.



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